Test case for com­mit­ment

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - FRONT PAGE -

WR5 000 bail. women. ac­tions. rights. OMEN’S Month got off to an in­auspi- cious start with the news Deputy Min- is­ter for Higher Ed­u­ca­tion Mduduzi Manana had been em­broiled in a spat with a woman at a Joburg night­club in the early hours of Sun­day morn­ing. The event, cap­tured on cell­phone, was an as- sault. Manana, recorded by the vic­tim’s brother, ad­mit­ted as much. His party, the ANC, dithered – mouthing plat­i­tudes con­demn­ing vi­o­lence against women, but stop­ping short of speak­ing on the mer­its of Manana’s case, of which there were none. The usu­ally ir­re­press­ible Po­lice Min­is­ter Fik­ile Mbalula is­sued warn­ings and threat­ened an im- mi­nent ar­rest, ir­re­spec­tive of Manana’s stand­ing, but even here “im­mi­nent” soon mor­phed into that other South African term “now now”. By Wed­nes­day when the pres­i­dent de­liv­ered his Women’s Day ad­dress, vow­ing fire and brim­stone against those who harm women, Manana was still at lib­erty. On Thurs­day he ap­peared in the Rand- burg Mag­is­trate’s court only to be re­leased on It is this kind of equiv­o­ca­tion that ex­plains why we are no closer to out­law­ing vi­o­lence against We won’t stop vi­o­lence while there re­main peo­ple who will look for ex­cuses, for “provoca- tion”, to ex­cuse, or at best mit­i­gate, the ag­gres­sor’s Let us make this news­pa­per’s stand­point clear: there can never be an ex­cuse for a man to beat up a woman, whether in an up­mar­ket night club or in the fam­ily home, any more than a woman can pro­voke sex­ual as­sault by wear­ing a short skirt or show­ing cleav­age. Manana will be­come a test case for the gov­ern- ment and the rul­ing party on the proof of their com­mit­ment not just to women’s rights, but human

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